HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Razing 300 W. First: Three bids received

Written November 17th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The corner of the fomer bank building, which the city intends to demolish, looked this way on Sept. 19, 2022.

Three contractors from the Portland area submitted bids to demolish the former downtown Albany branch of the Wells Fargo Bank at 300 W. First Ave. The bids, opened Nov. 15, ranged from about $239,000 to nearly $385,000.

The Albany urban renewal agency, ARA, bought the property in 2019 for $1.5 million after the bank closed the branch the year before. Efforts to have the structure redeveloped for residential and commercial uses fell apart as uneconomical. Now the city hopes to clear the site and then sell it to a developer.

The demolition issue came up during a meeting of the ARA on Wednesday night. Councilman Dick Olsen thinks the building could still be sold and used for something instead of being razed. He raised questions about what if anything the city has planned after the building is gone.

The bidders for the demolition contract and their respective offers are Laneco Demolition of Portland, $238,687; Elder Demolition of Portland, $384,747; and 3 Kings Environmental of Vancouver, WA, $320,963.

The bid amounts are for removing the building down to the “native subgrade” and then filling the hole and compacting the soil as a base for new construction.

Constructed in 1914 for the First National Bank, the building was reduced in height and remodeled in 1974.

The basement includes items of historic interest, including the doors of the vault and safe. These the city intends to donate to the Albany Regional Museum. Any remaining items of historic interest are to be sold at a public auction.

Bidders were told there may be a time capsule encased in the cornerstone, dating back to the original construction. The demolition contract says a search for the time capsule was underway. (No word on whether it’ has been found.)

The ARA, composed of the city council, meets again at the conclusion of the Nov. 28 council work sesssion. It may act to accept one of the bids then.

According to the contract, the demolition is supposed to be complete by June 30, 2023. (hh)

This photo was included in the bid invitation. It shows the First National Bank being built at 300 West First Ave. in 1914.

 

Photos of the safe and vault doors were included in the city’s bid package, too.

 

When the building is gone, you can sit here and look over an empty lot — until something new is built.





11 responses to “Razing 300 W. First: Three bids received”

  1. Cap B. says:

    I know I said I wouldn’t write and comment like I used to, but, maybe it will settle my queasy stomach after seeing the lovely picture of what the building was in 1914. Humans ruin everything…such as taking the top stories off that building in the 1970s.
    If ARA (Please, God, if there is a God, do not let Albany form another crooked, destructive, stupid urban renewal district!) can’t find someone to develop a building that is already in existence, how are they going to lure someone to usually half-empty downtown streets to build a brand new building? Ok, Hasso’s Republican male acolytes, call me sexist names. I don’t give a damn…I’ve gotten tougher.

    • J Schultz says:

      For upset stomach try an antacid.
      The luddites lost.
      Move forward and recognize the great changes downtown.
      Be honest. Did you prefer downtown with bars, bars and nothing but dump bars?
      1980
      Have you not noticed the changes? No stink, family oriented carousel and lively restaurant scene?
      2022
      No we cant bring back Mary Anna bakery.
      This is prime real estate with a 70s eyesore building, its not the Franklin.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    Turn it in to a homeless shelter. It’s close to a bus.

  3. Ann says:

    Definitely not a homeless shelter! We don’t need that downtown! I agree with, too bad there was no insight as to what the wonderful old buildings could become!

  4. Tim Siddiqui says:

    The best use would be a nice apartment building. With ground floor parking for the residents.
    It will also help liven up the downtown and help the business already there.

  5. Laura Kaplan says:

    Long shot….. Seems like the perfect place for a downtown brewery. Lot’s of space, height for large vats, brewing, restaurant space, storage, etc. What is missing? Parking! That building has SO much potential, so many options but Downtown Albany is limited. Parking is prime, we need more parking!! Let’s make that building a center, just like we did the carousel. Parking HAS to be addressed to make downtown appealing.

    • mike says:

      I’ve heard concerns about downtown parking before, and have always been confused by them. In the past 8 or so years I’ve lived in Albany finding parking to visit various businesses downtown has never been an issue for me. Worst case I have to walk a block or two. Recently I found out that in 2019 the city did a parking survey, which as far as I can tell, seems to confirm what I’ve experienced in person: parking is ample and utilization is low. See: https://www.cityofalbany.net/cara/downtown-parking-assessment

      I’m curious what situations or locations you’ve had issues with parking downtown, as you may go different places than I and at different times, and have different experiences.

  6. Hartman says:

    Did the Three Low Bidders show proof that the only Demolition Tools they will employ to raze the once-hallowed construct are in tune with the era and the spirit of the former bank building? It strikes this reader that the City’s Aging Building Commission would insist on culturally appropriate demolition to insure the integrity of the downtown urban core.

  7. russell wallace tripp says:

    My office looks down on this building from across Broadalbin street and I agree with Dick Olsen that it could remodel to something retail as easy as starting with a empty lot. Also what happened to Linn County making it the County Clerk’s office?

    • Cap B. says:

      The “Oh-so-wise” CARA/ARA people (i.e. the urban renewal schemers) sold to the developer who couldn’t develop!! CARA/ARA voted to not sell to Linn County, which was a big mistake. Linn County was going to move the Clerk’s office and also put some retail and/or apartments in the building, too.

  8. CHEZZ says:

    I think the Linn Co. bid was rejected by the City on the last bidding process. I don’t think they bid this time and moved on.

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